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Aaron McMaster

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Re: Architecture vs Agronomy
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2012, 08:38:59 AM »
Hi Aaron,

I'm interested in your first post. What type of bunkers are you referring too that hold up well to daily maintenance, the weather etc. Can you post a photo, and/or describe them.



I'm sure I can drum up some picutres soon but I don't have any on hand right now.  However, I can give you a description.

First and most important key is have an architect who will move the surface water around the bunker instead of into them.  A lot of the golden age courses especially used the bunker for drainage so that has to be removed.  Then you need excellent drainage in the bunker in particular smile drains to catch the remaining water that might run into the bunker...I'd put these in even if your doing grass faced bunkers but they are a must if you are flashing sand.  

Do not put pea stone in the bunker it will just eventually find it's way into sand and contaminate it.  I think the use of a liner of some type is good.  The new technology out is much better than 15 years ago so it does add to the intial cost but they work.  There are options such as Matrix bunker or Sportcrete which you cannot punture with machine rakes but are significantly more upfront cost than say bunker wall a geotextile fabric.  My preference is fabric for cost purposes and you lay it over the entire bunker floor and into the drain cutouts.  Use drain tile that has a geotextile fabric over the pipe and you need to test your bunker sand with the fabric so you find a match with the two.  The reason they need to match is your going to put the bunker sand right over top of the drain tile.

The edge is the next piece that's important.  I like to take the fabric about 6 inches past where you want the edge of the bunker to be.  Then use sand bags or you can use drain tile for your edge.  Once the sod goes on these the key is only edging the bunker one or two times per year max.  It may seem like it's time consuming but doing it by hand and only triming the grass is a key to maintaining that bunker edge.  Any type of reciprocating unit that tears into your sod or liners will begin to deteriorate your edge and the bunker will not last nearly as long.  The use of PGR's on those edges will slow the growth through the season so your grass edge can last much longer without a trim.

Hand raking will help make your bunkers last much longer as well.  People will say that adds maintenance cost's but with a bunker like this at least that's really all your doing to the bunker.  They all need to be raked but maybe not everyday and since you've eliminated washouts you could go every other day.  Obviously, that part depends on the standards of your club or course.

This bunker does not have an edge like say an Augusta National bunker.  This bunker is made to have a natural grass edge and look more rustic.  The Augusta type bunker type can be made with less maintenance than 15 years ago but since you are keeping that laser like edge your always open to contamination and or hitting the liner.  I'd use a matrix type or sportcrete system with that.  There is an alternative called Klingstone that is another polymer based liner but I'm not nearly as trusting of that as product at this time.  Bunker solutions is another liner product recent to market that literally makes use of astroturf as the liner with all the same principles as the geotextiles but it is extremely tough to puncture.  You could edge that with a reciprocator and probably not puncture it.  A well constructed bunker should last in excellent shape for 15 plus years with minimal maintenance other than adding sand.

This really doesn't apply to say something like Tom has done at pacific dunes with natural bunkers and the like....those I think you just take what you get and let mother nature do her thing and the player just deals with it.  You could do the edges of greens or fairway bunkering on those areas where you deem the outline of the bunker must stay a certain shape but most of those are just like waste areas so you get what you get when you hit it in there.

I know it seems like a lot to put into a bunker and it is but what has really driven this are the white sands.  If most clubs were ok with brown sand we sup's could eliminate a lot of the cost's associated with bunkers.  This is one thing that Augusta has brought to the game I really don't like, white sand is a real headache.

Lots of new tech is coming into this part of the business to try to help hold down daily and yearly costs to bunkers but almost all require a major overhaul first to take advantage.  In the end, golfers expectations have really gotten out of control on bunkers which is the real problem.  The first thing I always hear is we just want all the bunkers to play exactly the same, that is what is driving cost's up.  It's a hazard and to think you can have them all the same everyday just cost a ridiculous amount of money.

Scott hope that helps, I'll try to post a few pics in the next couple days.

Aaron McMaster

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Re: Architecture vs Agronomy
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2012, 08:43:26 AM »

Thanks.  The numbers you gave were pretty standard ones, put in that context.  You probably wouldn't like Old Macdonald and its six acres of greens!

I have heard good things about the greens at Battle Creek before, but have never seen it.  A shame, since it's only three hours from my house.  Maybe I'll get down there this spring before I have to start traveling in earnest.

Tom I personally love big greens and your correct I was just giving you standard type numbers.  As a golfer and super I'd rather have bigger greens for both interest and moving traffic patterns.  In my opinion, tee options and larger greens are where you can give the golfer a variety of options and interest especailly at club where your clients play the same course two or three days a week.   I'd make up the cost of those 6 acres with less trees.  The maintenance of trees far out weigh six acres of greens.


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